I was very happy to hear from Tony at Grey Matter Press that I've been mentioned in yet another review of Dark Visions 1:
“The Troll,” by Jonathan Balog reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s “Troll
Bridge,” even with its description of a young boy trying to escape the
bullies who traumatize him every day at school. Life can be lonely, but
what he finds under the bridge can more than make up for it.
For years, Gaiman has been one of my favorite authors, and he's provided me with a bottomless well of inspiration. Needless to say, the comparison is a serious compliment, but it's also a pretty astute observation. I'd read "Troll Bridge" a few years before I wrote the story of mine in question, and I'm sure it was knocking around my subconscious at the time. Both stories begin the same way, with a somewhat disenchanted young boy stumbling across the proverbial troll under the bridge. However, my troll has a less menacing appearance, and the story goes in a much different direction.
One of my prime motivations for writing dark fantasy/horror fiction is the desire to give something back to the genre that's given so much to me. If something I wrote can be viewed as a tribute to an author whose work has enriched my life, I'm happy about that too.